Review: Blue & Lonesome
Once upon a time thought The Rolling Stones were one of the great rock’n’roll bands – who also occasionally sang the blues. In between those early years and now there was not a lot of great music from the Stones – loads of concerts and a mix of music – some good and some ok. Would they ever make great music again?
Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. 2016 Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Here’s a fun story about two musicians and how they made this album. They hopped on the train and then jumped off at stops along the way to record a song – while making sure they were back on board as the train left. And yes – the music is good stuff. Definitely worth a listen if you are a follower of Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. Click here for more on the album.
Earlier this year we drove south to the Mawson shops (Southlands) to shop at one of the specialist supermarkets as well as to take in a Middle Eastern brunch.
A new song from Nick Cave – one you may need to stop and listen to especially when you realise when he wrote it – just after his son had died. Continue reading Nick Cave
The NGA has a special exhibition until 6 November 2016 on the works of Mike Parr. click on the image above….
There’s a wonderful exhibition at the NGA till 30th October 2016 – Diane Arbus: American portraits.
Review: Colvin & Earle June 2016
Join two wonderful voices, join two approaches to making music and two lives that have crossed over several times, and you have two marvellous talents – and the result – a great album. Many of the songs are original – and some are covers. It’s all good stuff.
Recommended: Rating 8/10
2016 Auckland festival of photography – June 2016
The 2016 Auckland festival of photography like many Australian photographic festival is very dependent on the enthusiasms and the energy of a small band of people, or more often than not, just one person.
Review: Tracy Chapman Greatest Hits 2015
The first thing to say is that tis is a great collection.
It is a new collection made by Tracy. The title – Greatest Hits – does not quite sit easily with this selection.
Music Review: Bluenote Cafe, Neil Young (2015)
If you like Neil Young’s music, then this album must make its way into your collection. This is Neil Young at his best and doing so as a Blues musician.
The music is from live recordings from 1987 – 1988 and is more or less based around his studio album, This Note’s For You .
Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015)
It is the done thing for musicians to cover other musicians songs and to do new arrangements of those songs rather than just attempting to mimic them.
Music Review: Carlo Emerald Acoustic Sessions 2013
I have reviewed Caro Emerald’s music before. It is great! I recently came across some acoustic versions of previous songs that had been released but may now be hard to find. Luckily I found a copy and there are several of the songs online.
Review: TV series
Here’s a program that in theory could have been fascinating. Some commentators liked this series. I am not so sure. The program has some very good cast members, but I am not convinced that they had great roles. There were a few wonderful lines but most of the time it was a bit silly.
Coming Forth By Day , Cassandra Wilson, 2015
Here’s an album by a great jazz blues singer who continually crosses over genres in her many albums. This being a year of celebration of Billie Haliday (her 100th Birthday), Cassandra Wilson has taken a selection of Billie’s songs and covered her music not by doing an imitation, but by making the songs her own.
Review TV program on DVD
While series four of DCI Banks is being aired in 2015, I have only now made my way to view the original 2010 series. This is the classic sort of made for TV crime series. The lead character fits the usual profile being a bit of a loner, lives by himself, there’s an ex wife and children out there, and does not hit it off with his boss.
Review by former Prime Minister
Colour My World, National Gallery of Australia till 30 August 2015
The Photograph and Australia, AGNSW till 8 June 2015
James McCurtry, Complicated Game 2015
This music may not be joyful enough for everyone, but if you like a touch of Americana with blues, rock and folk along the lines of a great singer/songwriter, then this could be for you.
John Mayall: A Special Life, 2014
John Mayall was making his form of blues in the sixties, in the seventies – and now in the 21st Century he is still pumping it out. How cool is that! Back in the seventies no-one could have imagined that we would be listening to the same guy in 2014 as he turned eighty.
Review: Shadows in The Dark
Bob Dylan, 2015
I am sure there are plenty of people who are not taken with much of Dylan’s later music. It has been very much a mixed affair. I am sure that there will be plenty of people who will not get this new album by Dylan. The songs and Dylan’s treatment of them do not fit easily with any category.
Avonmore, Bryan Ferry, 2014
Bryan Ferry’s album, Avonmore, concentrates on the failure of love. Obviously something to do with his most recent marriage and divorce. The music links directly back to former albums such as Boys and Girls (1985) and Bête Noir (1987) as well as Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982).
The production is pure Bryan Ferry. His music continues. What’s age got to do with it? He’s 70 years young and still making music. Good stuff.
Albums by Joan Osborne, including Bring It On Home, 2012
This was my first album by Joan Osborne despite her longish career. This album is for those who love to hear blues and rhythm & blues music being revisited by a talented singer. This is not about simply duplicating the former versions. Rather Joan Osborne and her musicians have delivered some great music through their own soul interpretations.
Music to be enjoyed
Caitlin Canty sings Neil Young’s Unknown Legend
I noticed a rave review online for a singer I had not noticed before, Caitlin Canty. After some further research and listening to the online samples, I dutifully downloaded her music to hear the whole album.
All was going OK, but I was not that enthusiastic on the first listen. No worry, this often happens. I was about to put aside for the night – when I came upon the second last track.
Review TV program on DVD
Wallander, 32 Episodes on DVD
Swedish with Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander
The plots are based loosely on the original books by Henning Mankell. There are to be no more in this series as Krister Henriksson agreed to complete the last ones on the basis that there was to be his last. Also the writer announced in early 2014 that he was suffering from cancer.
Give My Love To London, Marianne Faithfull, 2014
This album from Marianne Faithfull sees her return to a style close to that of her 1979 album, Broke English – which remains a great piece of music. I recommend this music. Those who have followed her music will really enjoy this album.
Review of Photography Exhibition
A Further Shore: Bombs, babes and sons of beaches
Manly Art Gallery (Sydney) till 26 April 2015
From Robert Dein photographic collection
There are some photography exhibitions that really reinforce how wonderful photography can be. There are exhibitions that demonstrate just how creative some collectors are in how they choose their collections. This exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery does all that and more. If you love photography, then do not miss this exhibition of contemporary and historic photographs.
Visual Arts Review
Bungaree, The First Australian at The Mosman Art Gallery
Open till 22 February 2015.
The Bungaree exhibition at the gallery contains works by 16 emerging and established artists who have nominally re-interpreted the stories around Bungaree. The image to the right is of Bungaree. There are numerous historic paintings of Bungaree.
Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze: An Appreciation of J J Cale (2014)
I am going to keep this short. I have for a long time liked the music of J J Cale. I also happen to like much of , but not all, the music of Eric Clapton. I am aware of many collaborations between J J Cale and Eric Clapton. They are, were, a natural mix and between them we have some great music to enjoy.
Review TV on DVD
Nicholas Le Floch, Volume One, Episodes 1-6
I took to this series very quickly. It has all the usual police drama and intrigue. The difference to many other current lead character detectives is that the main character, Commissaire de Police, is charming, does not have chip on his shoulder about something back in his life, is not suffering any mysterious illness and he loves life and enjoys it to the fullest.
Review: Photography Exhibition Catalogue
Dreams and Imagination: Light in the Modern City, Monash Gallery of Art , until 1st March 2015.
I have just read a copy of a wonderful catalogue of a significant photographic exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA). Yet again the MGA lives up to their reputation as ‘The Home of Australian Photography‘.
Chances are that I will not get to Melbourne to see this exhibition. However, the catalogue is a real gem and should be sought after by anyone interested in the development of Australian photography during the early 20th Century. (click on the images to enlarge)
for all those lying bastards out there!
One song, True Lies, is obviously based on some of her own relationship experiences. However her lyrics point the finger at people any of us have been unlucky to have known.
Visual Arts Review
Alex Sexton, As of Today…
Australian War Memorial Canberra
This is moving stuff. It is totally recommended that you visit the War Memorial to spend time with these precious artifacts.
Guardian reviewer looses the plot
It is not the job a reviewer to write stuff that everyone agrees with. The Guardian has a number of art reviewers and therefore we have a range of opinions. However one would expect any of these reviewers to be making sense.
It has come to pass that one reviewer has been showing signs of stress or something equivalent.
Mary Gauthier, Trouble & Love, 2014
If you have read my former post on Mary Gauthier (click here,) you know that I very much like her two former albums. This album is hard blues country by a very talented singer songwriter about love gone wrong. Through the eight songs, Mary lets us in on the thoughts and reactions she worked through as she dealt with the end of a relationship. It hurts.
Review: TV on DVD
Line of Duty, series 1 & 2
Here’s a totally recommended program for those who like their police dramas with a few twists and unpredictability in the endings. This comes highly recommended for binge viewing of the two series of six episodes each. The first series has been out for a year or so, with the second series a recent release. Series three and four have been booked for production. Highly recommended and best of luck trying to pick the ending, particularly in series 2.
New Steve Earle Album Announcement
There’s a new Steve Earle Album due in February 2015.
Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age
25 Sept – 11 Jan 2015, Barbican Art Gallery, London
J J Cale’s last album, Roll On
If you haven’t already – have a good listen. It will be worth it. As usual, he has stuck mostly to his usual style being somewhere out there between okie folk, blues, roots music and a bit of americana. All good stuff.
Black Chronicles II
Rivington Place, London till 29 Nov 2014.
The researchers have done a great job of identifying most of the subjects. The main room has huge portraits printed from the original negatives. The people are from an African choir on tour in Britain between 1891-93.
These images are just so beautiful and majestic. They have been printed super large and each person is represented by two different portraits.
Review: TV on DVD
True Detective, eight episodes on DVD
Review: Visual Arts
Cosima Von Bonin: Hippies Use Side Door.
The Year 2014 Has Lost The Plot
MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna
Spoiler alert. Be warned, this exhibition did not excite! Cosima Von Bonin’s latest exhibition is across several floors of the MUMOK and it is impressive. There are loads of cultural references and heaps of barbs at things within our culture, particularly the american culture we have all come to love and loath. It was an interesting experience to visit this massive exhibition.
I took my time – but
Jesse Winchester – his last two albums:
Love Filling Station (2009) & A Reasonable Amount of Trouble (2014)
This was a shame as he was indeed a very gentle and quiet personality with an eye on the world.
Review: Visual Arts
at Canberra Grammar School Oct 2014
There’s been a couple of short-run sculpture festivals in recent years in Canberra. It is a great thing to see these events as they provide opportunities for our sculptors who otherwise have trouble getting into the usual exhibition venues.
Announcement: New Book
Julia Gillard’s – My Story
Happy to promote this book. This story remains complex. There have been several thoughtful reviews of the book published online. As well as the usual crap from the mainstream media, who were part of the problem during Julia Gillard’s time as Prime Minister. Sara Dowse has provided an intelligent and insightful review that is definitely worth reading. click here.
Announcement: New Book
Don Watson’s new book – The Bush
I have read Don Watson’s previous books so I am confident that this new publication will be worth putting aside the time to read. Be warned that this is not a small book. So this one is not for the travellers unless you like to carry a heavy tome with you.
The music of the Cowboy Junkies
This group of talented Canadians has been making fantastic music for a couple of decades. I cannot remember how many times I have sat back, often with my headphones on, and allowed their music to take me away from all the troubles hanging around. These days life is much more peaceful and the music is even better.
Comment on reviewing of the visual arts
There have been many occasions when I visited an exhibition of contemporary visual arts, particularly those of the conceptual installation art version, and I have left with little satisfaction or a memory of strong engagement. To be positive, there have been many great pieces I have seen in this genre.
New Album announcement
Jackson Browne – standing in the breach
It is great to see established singer/ songwriters being relaxed in his approach to music so that he brings together an album of new and original songs.
Review: Photomedia / Photography
Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography
at Singapore Arts Science Museum till 2 Nov 2014
Comment: Apple Watch
Do we really need this?
The other day Sydney Airport was evacuated because someone had been busy reading his iPad and had accidentally walked through the exit door and thus set off all forms of alarms. As I drive around town I notice that cars are often either slow to take off from traffic lights or at times commence wavering all over the place as the driver is trying to manage their iPhone at the same time.
Review: Visual Arts and Photography
Still Moving at Singapore Art Museum (SAM) 8Q
till 8 February 2015
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is presently exhibiting three exhibitions in 8Q, its special annex located on Queens Street around the corner from SAM’s main building. The exhibition is a triple bill made up of three exhibitions that occupy the whole of the building’s exhibition spaces.
Video: review Music
Lulu, Natalie Merchant
Something to enjoy . A new video online by Natalie Merchant. The track Lulu is from Natalie Merchant’s 2014 album.
Review: Visual Arts
Down by the lake in Canberra, within that strange-looking architectural structure which is part of a local folley, called Commonwealth Place, the National Gallery of Australia has moved in to open an exhibition space for Australian contemporary art. It is called NGA Contemporary and is well worth a visit.
Beth Orton and Sugaring Season (Deluxe Edition) 2013
Sometimes you buy an album then life gets in the way and you do not get to the chance to really get into the music. This has happened several times to me with the music of Beth Orton. It was a case of bad timing.
I have had albums by Beth for a decade or more but it was only very recently, last week in fact, that I was able to dedicate serious time to sit and listen to her albums. I am recommending her music and would love to see a stage performance. Just dreaming!
Announcement: New Album by Lucinda Williams
Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
By the time you read this the new album by Lucinda Williams may have been released. All the reviews have been very positive and given the previous albums have been amazing, this definitely bodes well for another great listening experience. As you may have gathered, I rate Lucinda Williams very high on my list of musicians.
Announcement: Visual Arts Exhibition
Alex Seton, Refoulement at Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney till 11 October 2014
He was recently a major artist at the Adelaide Biennale and his earlier photographs are presently in an exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra.
Commentary: Architecture Basket Cases
I love the joy of good architecture, being both places and buildings. There is something really wonderful when you experience the enjoyment of good design. However there are other contributions that simply take your breath away for all the wrong reasons!
Here are a couple of gems.
Music online: Lyle Lovett and friends
Music Review online
Linton Kwensi Johnson, Paris Live, 2004
The world would be a better place if we treated everyone kindly, be open about things, and listened to more music!
Music Announcement: new album from Leonard Cohen
Dear Leonard has a new album out 23 September 2014. The title is ‘Popular Problems‘. When questioned about the tone of the new songs, Leonard responded that the world seemed to be confronting all forms of crisis right now. However he added with a smile that he is ‘closet optimistic’.
Review: Visual Art, photography
THE ROAD: Photographers on the move 1970–85
Monash Gallery of Art, 21 June–31 August 2014
The National Museum of Australia in Canberra
2nd Notice: New Book
Hack Attack by Nick Davies
It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?
Notice: A project about Art and Landscape
As I have said before, I wonder why a country such as Australia with its amazing landscapes does not have a much stronger arts in the landscape profile, let alone many more robust public art programs.
Review: TV series on DVD
Marie Wern, series on DVD – seven episodes
I have to admit that I had not heard of the Swedish island of Gotland. Having now watched four of the Swedish seven episodes of Marie Wern, I have had to get online and do research on this Swedish island, situated in the gulf to the east of Sweden. Want to know more about Gotland? – click here.
This is a good series. Recommended.
Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens
This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only those promoting it had been sensible and given an address.
Review: Visual Arts
The paintings of Andrew Sayers
Review: TV program
Utopia, eight part series on ABC
This series was much-anticipated given the success the same writing team had with their earlier TV series, such as The Hollowmen. After watching four of the eight, I am happy to report that the program started well and then, it simply got better, and then it continued to get even better! I am very much looking forward to the next for of the series.
Announcement: Book – fiction
Mark Henshaw’s The Snow Kimono
The Guardian has it wrong about his former career. Mark was a curator of prints at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He led a double life for many years as curator and as an author.
Notice: Local Visual Arts Gallery
Ruth Waller at Nancy Sever Gallery, Kingston, Canberra
We attended a crowded opening there tonight for the opening of Ruth Waller’s exhibition of recent paintings. Can I say that I would love to talk more about the art, but it was very difficult to see given the crowd. That’s why I often avoid openings and get along later.
Review (2nd): Visual Arts
Annette Messager: motion/emotion at the MCA Australia (Sydney) till 26 October 2014
We were fortunate to have a business reason to be in Sydney for the Monday, so allowed ample time on the weekend to get down to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on beautiful circular Quay to see this once in a lifetime exhibition of Annetta Messager’s artworks. It was definitely worth the trip. We loved it so much we went back the next day for a revisit.
Review: Visual Arts
A visit to the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) Melbourne
Commentary: Australian Gardens, Botanic Garden visit
Pondering a visit to the Melbourne Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne
Geraint Watkins, Moustique, 2014
Geraint Watkin’s albums have been few and they have not commanded a lot of attention. I suspect this is because of the idiosyncratic mix of music styles.
This 2014 album by Geraint Watkins has dominated the car stereo for quite a while now. It is fun to hear the music close up. This album is recommended if you like this sort of mix.
Review: TV on DVD
The Eagle A Crime Odyssey, TV 2004 – 2006, now out on DVD
This is another nordic television series. This pre-dates The Bridge and several others now well-known. According to other online news the series has been shown a couple of times on SBS in Australia and was very popular. I actually chanced upon it and settled back to watch and became impressed very quickly. It is good. We liked this a lot.
Review: Swedish TV series on DVD
The Fjällbacka Murders – series on DVD 2012
This DVD set is more good TV viewing from northern Europe. The series is in six episodes over three DVDs. The main scene is the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka – click here for Wikipedia.
The author, Camilla Läckberg, is an established author and this series is her latest. Click here for more on the author. I recommend this series. There are good characters and the settings are fascinating, although I do wonder how they mange to get so many fine and sunny days up there on the coast of Sweden.
Review: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life. Andrew Leigh, 2014
I have had the pleasure of reading books and articles by Andrew Leigh. He happens to be my local Federal member of the House of Representatives. I have been positive about his writings. I am not so sure about this book.
From the publisher: If you like fresh facts and provocative ideas, this is great train and weekend reading. You’ll soon see the world and the people around you in a new light. I disagree. I may now see Andrew Leigh in a different light.
Hunters & Collectors: Throw Your Arms Around Me (1986)
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.
Photography: Fan Ho, Hong Kong photographer
Review: Visual Arts
Several exhibitions at the NGA
There are many other exhibitions, especially collection exhibitions, that are a wonder to see and enjoy.
Review: Visual Arts/photography
Exhibition: John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
till 19th October 2014, then touring.
The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra has done itself proud with this special exhibition of photographs produced from the archive of the photographer John Witzig. Full marks to the historian curator, Sarah Engledow.
Review: Embassy Architecture in Canberra
The Solomon Islands High CommissionI spotted this example of successful embassy architecture as I was driving past to have lunch at the Beaver Gallery Cafe in Deakin. From the available online information (and there’s not much) I think these new buildings for the High Commission for the Solomon Islands were completed around 2011/2012.